Grace Baptist Church in January 2008
George Inn [also Old George]: 78 High Street, Harrold
The George, also listed as the Old George can be traced in early 19th century directories held by Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service from 1820 to 1862. By the time of the directory of 1864 Robert White, the licensee, had moved to the Wheatsheaf and no further mention is made of the George or Old George indicating that it closed some time in the two years 1862 to 1864.
The earliest reference to the George in any record held by Bedfordshire & Luton Archives & Records Service is in 1816. In this year William Rey bought a case against letter carrier Jane Hartwell for stealing a £10 note he had put in a letter. The George's landlord John Fairey became involved as the following witness statement reveals: "The said John Fairey being duly sworn saith that he lives at Harrold & keeps the George Inn in that Town - that he likewise has settled his Daughters in a shop & house near his own dwelling. That in the course of Business he frequently applies to his said Daughters for money from the shop as Occasion requires. That in the evening of the 17th of September last, having a sum of money to pay to Mr Coles of Olney - he went with Mr Coles to his Daughters shop & asked her to fetch her down some money - which she did to the amount of 35£ all in notes - that he did not at the time take any notice of the different Banks which had issued the said notice - That in the evening of the following day viz the 18th Sept Mr Wm Rey shopkeeper at Harrold came to the House of this Deponent & said he had lost a Harbro' 10£ note out of a letter sent to the Post at Bozeat - & suspected Jane Harwell the Letter Carrier from Harrold to Bozeat had purloined the said note & that the number was 3164 - that he the said Wm Rey had been informed that the postwoman Jane Hartwell had changed a note of the same description with him this depoent & desired him to see whether he had such a note still by him. That no note of the number described was then in this deponents possession but recollecting that a short time before he had paid Mr Coles as aforesaid several notes He told Mr Rey that he should see Coles at Northampton Fair the next morning & would mention the circumstance to Him & enquire of him whether an Harbro note no 3164 was amongst the notes he had paid him on the 17th & still in his possession. That this deponent did accordingly meet Mr Coles at Northampton Fair on the 19th & on his relating the intension of his coming to him Mr Coles immediately examined all the notes he had brought with him & amongst the rest the Harbro' note in question No 3164 which Mr Coles immediately delivered up to him this deponent & this deponent delivered the same into the hands of the magistrate Revd Mr Hooper" [QSR1816/228]. Interestingly, despite absconding Elizabeth Hartwell was not convicted.
The fate of the George is rather unusual and explained by the Bedfordshire Mercury of 2nd September 1876: “A CHANGE FOR THE BETTER. Some years ago, in the centre of the town there was a public-house known as the “George”, and through its position it had a large share of business. But there came a time when the old sign of the George was taken down, and instead of that could be seen over the door “Temperance Hotel”. The property has changed owners, and it now belongs to a lady whose name as an earnest worker in all philanthropic movements is so well known, Miss St.Quintin. It was the for some time carried on as a “British Workman” public house, that is, a public-house without intoxicating drinks. At first this did not meet with the success that was anticipated, as it was not attended by the class of persons whom it was intended to benefit and the good work seemed to droop a little. But at the beginning of last winter fresh endeavours were made, Sunday evening services were conducted in the Mission-hall, prayer meetings held weekly, a night school established, and the effect was a great revival of interest in the movement. The attendance at some of the meetings was more than could be provided for, therefore the coming winter campaign the whole of the old buildings have been pulled down, and a very handsome Temperance-hall, or Mission-room is being built on the site. The contract for the building was about £900, and the work is being done by Mr.Hull, of Bedford, and is to be finished by the last week in October next. Well would it be if every village which had a public house to spare had a lady as generous as Miss St.Quintin to convert it into a Temperance-hall”.
- CLP13: Register of Alehouse Recognizances: 1822-1828;
- GA2092: auction sale held at George: 1834;
- GA2099: auction sale held at George: 1834
List of Licensees: note that this is not a complete list; entries in italics refer to licensees where either beginning or end, or both, dates are not known:
1816-1830: John Fairey;
1839-1847: Thomas Fairey, maltster;
1851-54: John Fairey at the Old George;
1861-62: Robert White at the Old George, also a baker